Thy_Art_Is_Murder`Hate’ is the sophomore album from Thy Art is Murder, and clearly captures the band in ascendancy. These deathcore devotees from Down Under seem to be on the rise, with a pristinely-produced album released by Nuclear Blast and it seems an ever-growing fanbase. All I can say is, Campbelltown must be a brutal and harsh place to live, as these guys sound absolutely furious about, pretty much everything! Maybe they haven’t realised that the lovely Yvonne Strahovski (from the TV series `Chuck’) is also a native of that leafy suburb of the Sydney Central Business District.

The music is about as subtle as a road accident, as gentle as being smashed in the face with a huge iron girder. The album’s terse moniker serves it very well indeed. What we have here in essence is some extremely aggressive modern deathcore, with the emphasis very much on the brutal, heavy end of that genre. Whether this will please everyone is another matter entirely…

Despite the enhanced production, label and promotion, in some ways this album actually feels like a step down from their debut `The Adversary’. Concentrating more on the chugging breakdowns, short songs and pure brutal heaviness, one can’t help feeling they have lost something in their move to Nuclear Blast. Their first album had all these things in spades, but it also had some staggering technicality and genuine, dark, atmosphere. Their sophomore release feels a little one-dimensional in comparison – it is definitely heavier, more brutal and crushing, but gone is most (but not all) of the atmosphere.

However, there is no doubt that these boys can play. There are plenty of times on this album where the pristine, ultra-modern death metal production allows the sheer technicality of the band to shine through. Athletic single note riffs scale the fretboard aplenty, and there are some stunning, frenetic guitar solos. The drums are… well to be honest the drums are so over-processed and mechanical sounding, it makes you wonder if they even need a drummer. No doubt Lee Stanton is an extremely good drummer if the playing on the album is anything to go by, but the sound of the drums on `Hate’ could easily have been totally computer-generated.

The latter half of the album really begins to bring back some of that dark, oppressive atmosphere and tracks like `Gates of Misery’ really stand out, with its slight touch of nasty, experimental black metal thrown into the brutal mix. Clearly the boys have the talent, vision and ability to really stand head and shoulders above many other bands of this genre; however they haven’t quite hit the mark this time. For those of you who fancy some aggressive, bone-crunching deathcore then this album may sate your hunger, but for those who want something a little more, you may have to wait to see what this band’s next release will bring.

(7/10 Jon Butlin)